Black Lives Matter - Departmental Statement

The Biological & Ecological Engineering Department stands for racial justice and unequivocally states that Black Lives Matter in our department, in our university, and in our communities. The appalling recent events, culminating in the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 at the hands of police officers, reflect a long history of injustice and violence towards Blacks, Indigenous people, and other racial minorities by dominant power groups and cannot be accepted. As engineers, scientists, and educators, we recognize that racial inequalities also exist within academia and STEM fields, producing biases in scientific research, scholarship, and educational access. We are aligned with the university plan for inclusive excellence,, and understand that as a department we have considerable work to do to address injustices within our community. In particular, we are committed to addressing the lack of representation of Blacks and other minority groups in all our programmatic areas: teaching, extension, research, and service. We will be proactive in engaging with and recruiting underrepresented minorities, removing barriers to participation in our programs, and promoting a welcoming culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion for all of our students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders. We commit to educating ourselves on how the past has shaped current biases and power dynamics within academia and to identify how our teaching, mentoring, hiring, and retention practices can be more inclusive and equitable. We acknowledge that this will be a long-term, ongoing process and we will continue to identify steps through which we can contribute to solving issues around racial injustice in the work we do. This moment demands nothing less from us, and as we move forward together, we are confident that we can make a positive difference in our world.